Adoption can be a harrowing experience. The question of whether or not to have an open adoption is a question that can be intimidating for adoptive parents. There is often a fear that an open adoption will somehow lessen the bond they create with their child, or that the birth parents will be able to change their minds and take the child back. These fears are understandable but here is some advice to mitigate those fears.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is a spectrum of what an “open adoption” entails, it does not mean just one thing. One option is to have only parent-to-parent contact in the form of pictures and updates. There can also be visitations between the child and biological parent, which can be anything from one visit per year to much more regular contact. Adoption attorney Felice Webster explains that parent-to-parent communication is the most popular form of open adoption, but that the trend among birth mothers is more towards visitation. Also remember when adopting a newborn, that families are generally matched with birth mothers and the birth mother must choose the family in which she is comfortable entrusting her baby. Not being willing to consider an open adoption could delay the process of finding a birth mother who is a good match.
Openness is something that is common today and in fact the trend in adoption is towards more openness. Adoption expert Guylaine Hubbard-Brosmer suggests that an open adoption is the absolute best way to go. Rather than weakening the bond between the adoptive family and the child, Hubbard suggests that it actually strengthens that bond because it builds trust and honesty. Counseling Director of Independent Adoption Center Jennifer Bliss believes that open adoptions are the best option for adopting families and they help to relieve the large strain on adoptive families.
In general, open adoptions are successful. Psychologist David Brodzinsky explains that sometimes it can cause a strain on families and may generate negative interactions and excessive pressure. However, for most families it is a positive experience. Open adoption is widely shown through studies to be the healthiest option for both adoptive parents and their children. Adoptive parents who choose open adoption are statistically more happy and secure in the adoption process than those whose adoptions are closed.
Whatever choice your family makes, realize that there is no right or wrong answer in the adoptive process. Your family is unique and you will make the decisions that will best for your family!